Two community pillars collapse

Judy Rinfret

Our last issue featured upbeat news of the ByTowne Theatre, but now owner Bruce White says, “I wish things could be different.  My heartfelt thanks to you all,” and  announces that our beloved community hub/entertainment centre will close on the first day of 2021.

The ByTowne, pictured above in 2005, brought glamour to the street as well as quality entertainment to the people.
Photo David Elden

Bruce says his retirement was imminent and the pandemic has hastened his decision. “The ByTowne has a fantastic customer base, but many ByTowners just aren’t coming these days. And I don’t blame them,” he writes.

He hopes to sell the business when the virus is under control.  “No one will be more delighted than me, and I’ll be there as one of you, a happy spectator of amazing movies.”

Meanwhile he encourages those of us who wish to “channel love and  support” to consider donating to his Staff Appreciation Fund. E-transfer any amount to  Bruce will distribute these funds among his 15 stalwart staff, ideally during the Christmas season. And “when post pandemic life arrives,  “attend any cinema, see any movie.  Take chances; take friends; take a night off from Netflix.”

We will remember, with even greater affection and nostalgia, the walks in all seasons to line up at the doors of cinema paradiso, the cheerful expectant buzz as we sat munching, the glorious moments when the curtains would part to transport us to worlds of wonder, and sometimes spontaneous invitations to drop by for a glass of wine and talk about the film.

Above, Trudel’s final location on George St.; previously, it was at Besserer and Nicholas.

And, we are losing our hardware store.  By the time you read this, Trudel Hardware, serving the residents of Sandy Hill and Lowertown for generations, will have locked up shop.

Where will we go for handy essentials and kindly service?